1963-2013: A 50-Year Survey of Constructions, Collages, Books and Film
the show opened Thurs March 7, 2013 / 7-9PM
and runs thru APRIL 13, 2013
FREIGHT+VOLUME – 530 W 24th St – Chelsea, NYC

PETER HUTCHINSON: THE LOGIC OF MOUNTAINS / 1963-2013: A 50-Year Survey of Constructions, Collages, Books and Film . . . has the feel of a mini-museum-in-a-gallery retrospective. the exhibit has great depth, but is also swift, and sweet, and well . . . fleeting in nature.
and, yes. you can think .. about that.

PETER HUTCHINSON, ‘Tube Project for Utah’, 1969.
Photo Collage with text, 23 x 28 x 3 in.

the collages were by far, my fave delight . . .
photos, flowers, and thoughts / what’s not to admire, question, wonder and peruse.

detail, PETER HUTCHINSON, ‘Tube Project for Utah’.

talk about the ‘Wizard’, and the road to . . . Oz (!!)

if I could discern any real pattern/formal evolution in the work, from early to present, I would say, based on this presentation .. that the earlier works were more ‘narrative’ in their own real-world compositions, e.g. the ‘barren’ road leading to the horizon, while .. the latter works develop a grid-like formal partition .. in their collage organization.

detail, PETER HUTCHINSON, ‘Tube Project for Utah’.
though it’s hard to tell from the photographic depictions of the exhibited works on the gallery website, all of the carefully framed works, which are unique by virtue of being collages, as opposed to straight photographic prints .. are accompanied by brief texts, in Mr. Hutchinson’s own interesting, spindly script.

so flow .. the thoughts of the artist, from behind the lens, and the paste jar .. so to speak.
these flower-like scribbles themselves .. often include slight jokes, and/or exact details .. to help you break-down & analyze, study .. the meanings behind the extremely pictorial, as in v-i-s-u-a-l rich . . . ‘pictures.’
when I asked Mr. Hutchinson about these notations, he said simply: “narrative art.”
which made me stop, and ponder: was he at the cutting edge of ‘narrative art’, like other people were at the edge of say, site-specific earth art ?
p-r-o-b-a-b-l-y. did come .. to mind.

this one says: “Tubes contain a cactus and chemical crystals mixed with salt.” these tubes are photographs, but in other pieces, actual glass vials, or containers .. of another sort of scientific nature are right there, adhered to the work.

this is a later piece . . .

PETER HUTCHINSON, ‘Birds of Paradise’, 2009. Photo Collage with text.
40 x 60 in.

detail, PETER HUTCHINSON, ‘Birds of Paradise.’ the text:

“Of course, seagulls are not the tropical birds of paradise but to me they might as well be, soaring in the bright blue sky, expressing freedom and the ability to survive, they represent the ever-present spirit of nature”.

even if you just get to watch pigeons from inner city front row seats, you know the longer you watch, you will get to see, be able to pick out .. the stout sentinels that guard the flock, the bravest scouts that take flight in pairs to roam the far-distant horizon from higher points, and of course, the dance of the breeders, the iridescent sheen of their neck feathers, more opulent than mother-of-pearl . .

detail, PETER HUTCHINSON, ‘Birds of Paradise’.
there seems to be a house in this one, and you can easily divine the compositional ‘divide’ of the grid-like organization of the photos, with some / most it seems at first, almost still roughly uncut .. or, better stated: slightly cut, but still in their total original ‘print’ rectangles . . .
it’s a closely held ‘quilt’ format … that, look closer is .. often, and eerily, deconstructed.

detail, PETER HUTCHINSON, ‘Birds of Paradise’ .. with cut-out bird shapes, breaking into the composition.

yep, I DID ask (!!) Mr. Hutchinson, what kind of magazines or catalogs, thinking must be old-school stock for sure .. that he cut into .. to get such bright colors and hard paper stock ? haha.
but, hey, great question !!
turns out: he takes all of his own photos .. and cuts them up !! and back in the day that meant hi-gloss, heavy stock, color vibrant KODAK PAPER.
they don’t sing, “momma don’t take my Kodachrome away” – for nothin’ !!

not only that, he also grows MOST (!!) of the flowers he photographs, yes, himself – as well.
go tell that to a contemporary collage ‘party’ artist.
so like I said, great question.
this is an artist, scientist, botanist, just saying.
this is the breed of visual arts thinker, observer, organic world thinker and eco-catcher/artist, who brought today’s world .. to art, back when most people really hadn’t gotten the ‘change of mindset’ yet.

the press release says:

“Born in England, Peter Hutchinson has lived in the United States for over half a century and has practiced art for nearly as long. Beginning as a geometric (I knew it !!) painter. his close contact with minimal artists in New York such as SOL LEWITT and TADAAKI KUWAYAMA exposed him to conceptualist thinking at its inception.

But Hutchinson turned away from minimalism and conceptualism’s rhetorical bent, preferring to follow a more overtly poetic and nature-oriented path. In this way, he remained true to his British roots, mirroring and even anticipating the landscape orientation, and physical commitment, of artists like RICHARD LONG and HAMISH FULTON, and evincing the heritage of the great poets and painters of the 18th and 19th century, including CONSTABLE, WORDSWORTH, and BLAKE.”

detail, PETER HUTCHINSON, ‘Birds of Paradise’.
one can discern the snip snip of scissors at work, here, in this ‘patch’ … too. but look even more closely, and you can catch some drawing, some hands-on .. vibrant, yet minimal line work, as well.
a hands-on ‘bridge’, if you will.

detail, PETER HUTCHINSON, ‘Birds of Paradise’.
same here.

detail, PETER HUTCHINSON, ‘Birds of Paradise’.
this patch even has some .. what looks to be green/yellow ‘tips’ of oil paint applied with a fine brush.
compositional camo, or what !!

the whole crew at the end of the opening . . . I’m thinking this show represented a great deal of thought, planning, and plain ole … hard work.

from left:

PETER DONNELLY, who is Mr. Hutchinson’s current studio manager; F+V’s KEVIN KAY, followed by Mr. Hutchinson’s longtime friend, VIRGINIA DWAN; at center, the artist, himself: PETER HUTCHINSON. F+V owner/director NICK LAWRENCE who produced the show .. and the rest of the FREIGHT+VOLUME gallery staff: ASHLEY DILLMAN, TAYLOR LANGONE, and last but not least, MONICA TRUONG, who received a nice ‘design’ credit – on the gallery website essay, in connection with this show.

they are standing in front of: PETER HUTCHINSON’S – ‘The Logic of Mountains’, 2010.
Photo Collage with text, at 80 x 120 in. – also the largest piece in the show.